Book Review: The Book of Samuel

by Melissa on March 16, 2010 · 0 comments

in 14-17, Adventure, Family & Relationships, Good book for boys, Lexile 700-799, School Life

Title: The Book of Samuel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Author:Erik Raschke
Lexile: [?] 790L
ATOS Level: [?] TBD
Parent Rating:
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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
GO For Ages: 14-17


“Samuel Gerard strives to be like every other 12 year-old: he hangs out at the bike jumps or at the mall with his friends, finds creative ways to avoid schoolwork, and repeatedly asks his parents questions that he knows have no answer. But when his dad embarks on a religious quest to “save the world,” Samuel’s own life is violently upended.

Literally starting the day after his father leaves, Samuel finds himself on a dizzying, often humorous series of adventures, from being covered in leeches to accidentally blowing up his friends garage, from cheering up his distraught mother to supervising his feisty, racist grandma, and from making out with the most popular girl in school to a horrific, lifechanging fight with the toughest girl in school. And as Samuel tries to sort out the world around him, he begins his own journey of selfunderstanding, taking him squarely into the heart of his Denver neighborhood which is already threatening to burst from changing social values and mass immigration. While The Book of Samuel tells a gripping tale about the tumultuousness of being a teenager at the crossroads of religion and community, family and friends, newfound love and deep-seated hatred, the novel is ultimately a story about the joys and pains of a boy growing up in middle-America. “


Some social content to be aware of, but nothing new for this age-group.  Be aware of specific references to how to make bombs and some racism. Even though the protagonist is 12, the content is pretty mature.


Level 2, flipping people off [?]

Sexual Content

Reference to a famous athlete making out with a Playboy Playmate. Boys take part in a ‘kissing contest’ to be ranked by the popular girls in school.


A father offers his 12 year-old son a beer. Grownups smoke cigarettes. A teen steals from his parent’s liquor cabinet and smokes marijuana.


Reference to a magazine called ‘Solider of Fortune’ and the weapons you can order from it. Boys take ‘angel knives’ to school. One uses the knife in a fight, holding it to a girls throat. Teen boy gets into a fight and describes how good it feels to hit. Boys get copy of The Anarchist’s Cookbook to learn to make bombs. Some details of how they make and detonate them. One causes shopping center to burn down.


Quite a few racist comments directed to a group of kids who are Mexican. Word use: dirty spics. Use of word ‘gay’ as an adjective, ‘That’s so gay.’ A fairly violent teen girl gets into a fight with the principal.


A father is struggling to find himself spiritually and separates himself from his family to do so.  Multiple Biblical quotes. ‘We live with an angry God.’

Note: You can click on the key words or categories to see more info, by author, age or topic.

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